Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ukraine 3 – Days 4-6 (October 2 to 4)

Background information
We are staying in the apartment of Flo Kancir. Flo is a tremendously dedicated sister. Years ago, she lost her husband, and within two weeks, she heard and accepted for herself the good news about Jesus. She is now committed to spreading the same good news in Ukraine, where she spends six months of every year helping the poor, the sick, and anyone else who is in need. As a result, many have come to know and love the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour.

The apartment is in the city of L’Viv, a large city of ca. 1 million, situated on the western side of Ukraine. The apartment is filled with boxes, which are in turn filled with all kinds of humanitarian aid for others.

Update on the last few days

Meals Out
In the last few days, we have twice had the privilege of going to dinner in Ukrainian homes. What hospitality! The first dinner was October 2 at Flo’s nephew’s house. We were served a six course meal that included (1) bread, ham, cheese, vegetables; (2) soup; (3) cabbage rolls; (4) shish kebabs, potatoes; (5) fruit; (6) and cake. Each course was a meal in itself and we were warned to go easy. I was excited to learn that one of the boys there was learning AutoCAD, and he showed me some of his drawings. I’m still trying to learn that program!
Then on the 3rd we had dinner at Ola’s home. Ola is the mother of our skilled driver Rooslan (I’m sure he will get a post of his own before this trip is over!). Once again, we ate till we dropped, and in a way that would make my Grandpa Knox proud, we sought refuge in reclining on the couch. I had my first bowl of borscht, and am now looking forward to my second. Also tried some sauerkraut. It too was excellent. The language barrier was not able to prevent either meal from being filled with loud conversation and lots of laughing.

These meals are often self-sacrificing as the hosts themselves are struggling to make ends meet. This woman’s pension is 500 hrivnia (approx. $100 CDN) per month and about ½ to 2/3 of it goes toward rent. The rest is to pay for heat, food, clothes and any other needs they may have. In a way we feel bad eating such a lot of food that they have bought and prepared, but they have done so in love, and the thing they want most is for us to enjoy it and their homes.

Of course, ahem, eating, (cough), only occupies a tiny portion of our time here (sneeze)! I’ll quickly tell you about a couple of visits we’ve made. On the 2nd we visited a family in the small village of Listivchy. The mom left the dad with five children when the youngest child was only three months old (he’s now getting close to five). We brought groceries, toys, clothes, shoes, and Malcolm brought them the good news of Life in Christ, which, like the other gifts, is always free, but, unlike the other gifts, lasts forever.

We visited a family today (4th) consisting of two grandparents, a dad, and one three year-old boy named Dema. This was another case of the mom leaving the dad and child when the boy was very young (six months old). The grandparents were so receptive to us and to the message. Helen and I played with Dema. Over and over we blew up a balloon for him and he’d let it fly out of his fingers.

Great News
Last night we had another meeting in Flo’s apartment. Malcolm gave the main talk, speaking on heaven. I closed by sharing thoughts on the telltale evidence that someone is a student of Jesus: love for others (John 14:22). After most of the group had left, a young woman, Nadia (22 years-old), wanted to talk with Flo. A few minutes later, we were all thrilled to bits upon hearing that she had received Jesus as her Saviour! It was funny to see how surprised she was by our excitement as she received hugs from her new brothers and sisters. It was as if she was saying, “Why would you people from Canada be happy for me?” Kinda because this is the whole point of our coming here!

In other great news, Malcolm finally received all his luggage!

Prayer Requests
- for Nadia, that she will grow in her faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ; that she will share her story with others; that her husband Lupshik (sp?) will also be saved.
- for God to lead us each day. There are a number of things up in the air right now, but we’re hoping to go to Ivano on Sunday or Monday.
- for us, that we will have wisdom in distributing the money and supplies other Christians have entrusted to us.


Anonymous said...

Hey Guys

Glad things are going so well for you in Ukraine so far!! You are both going to come back the size of houses by the sounds of it!

Praying for you daily
lots of love
Steve, Leanne and Bump

MJK said...

You're likely the size of the house Leanne! Cheeky.

Love, Mike and Helen said...

Ukrainian food is one of reasons to visit this country. Meals in Ukraine are both tasty and beautiful.There are numerous restaurants and bars where you can try local meals. Most of them are not very complicated so you will be able to try to cook them at home. Welcome to Ukraine and enjoy delicious local food!